Personas shows you how the Internet sees you. It is a critique of data mining, revealing the computer’s uncanny insights and inadvertent errors. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current future world where digital histories are as important, than oral histories, and computation methods of condensing our digital traces are largely opaque and socially ignorant..
BusinessWeek publishes an interesting article on how data mining and social network analysys (SNA) are starting to be used by human resources department in order to automatically determine the value of each employee.
The strong-worded beginning (speaking about a social network graph) is:
Each circle represents an employee. Those who generate or pass along valuable information within the company are portrayed as large and dark-colored. And the others? “On a relative scale, they don’t add a hell of a lot,” says Elizabeth Charnock, chief executive of Cataphora, the Redwood City (Calif.) company that carried out the study for a client. The upshot for managers faced with a mandate to downsize: Small and pale circles might be a good place to start cutting.
Is there a way to stop this? I think the correct way is to inform employees precisely about:
* the information the tech tools they use (email, intranet, …) they use is generating about themselves and which information is stored and how
* the use the management can do and cannot do of this stored information (for example, if it can be used for anonymous statistical analysis of performance of tech tools).
* their right to ask the removal of any information about them from the logs (in Italy there is a precise law that gives you this right).
It is surely a tricky topic but the possibilities of control and tracing will only increase with time so it is important to start discussing it asap. What are your thoughts?